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(en) Britain, South Wales Anarchist Newsletter - GAGGED! #21 - December 2007

Date Sat, 15 Dec 2007 11:50:46 +0200



NO TO IMMIGRATION PRISONS NO TO RACIST BORDER REGIMES --- South Wales Anarchist
Newsletter # southwalesanarchists.org --- NO CHRISTMAS CHEER FOR IMMIGRANT
In the run up to Christmas there has been a marked increase in immigration raids
in South Wales, with arrests in Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport & Rhondda as
well large raids in North Wales. 9 people were arrested following a raid by cops
& Borders & Immigration officers on a restaurant on City Road, Cardiff, on 28th
November (coinciding with a visit by Immigration Minister Liam Byrne). The
Hawaiian restaurant was hosting the annual Albanian celebration of independence,
one of the party commented "I thought I was in Stalin's Russia, not a civilised
country like Britain. This was not just a raid.

They had guns & dogs. They stormed into the building." People who had the
correct documents on them were forced to wait outside in the rain while the
remaining diners' identities were checked. 6 of the arrestees may be deported.
These controls mean that thousands of vulnerable people are sent back to often
dangerous & impoverished situations that they have risked everything to leave.
ASYLUM SEEKERS IN CARDIFF PRISON AGAIN?

Asylum seekers may once again be locked up without charge in Cardiff Jail,
despite assurances that this barbaric practice had ended. Sources in the prison
itself have confirmed this is true, though there have been official denials.
In May 2001 it was revealed that asylum seekers were being held behind bars
alongside remand prisoners. It has now been 7 years since the removal of the
"final" asylum seekers from the jail was welcomed by then Minister for Finance &
Local Government, Edwina Hart, who stated "I hope that the prisons in Wales will
never need to be used for this purpose again in the future. Prisons are not
the appropriate place for asylum seekers."

However, the further detention of asylum seekers at HMP Cardiff in 2004 led to
protests outside the prison. A cross-party consensus was reached in Sept 2004,
at a meeting of the Welsh Assembly Equality of Opportunity Committee, that it
was not appropriate to house asylum seekers in prisons.

Worryingly, during a visit to HMP Cardiff this October, a prison officer told
our source that asylum seekers who have committed no crime continued to be
detained at the Prison, due to lack of space at other immigration detention
facilities in England.

This information was then passed on to the Dr. Brian Gibbons, the Welsh minister
for social justice asking him to investigate the situation. He claims that the
Border & Immigration Agency have provided reassurances that under no
circumstances would asylum seekers be detained in prisons.

However they did admit asylum seekers were being held in police cells in South
Wales & that a lack detention space in the region is a problem.

KEEP CONSTANCE & SON ANDREAS IN CARDIFF

Constance Nzeneu & her 5 month old son Andreas face imminent
deportation to Cameroon following the Home Office's rejection of
her asylum claim.
Constance fled Cameroon over two years ago when her father tried
to force her into an arranged marriage which would have meant
undergoing Female Genital Mutilation, which is widespread there.
When Constance refused him, the `fiancee' took her to court. Knowing
she would lose, Constance left her family home. A search warrant was
issued, involving the police. Her father also put an announcement in a national
newspaper offering a reward to anyone who returned her to the family because if
the marriage didn't go ahead they would owe the `fiancee' the dowry money & be
shamed within the community.

Constance faces a dangerous & uncertain future if she is forcibly deported to
Cameroon. There will be recriminations from the police, the court, the `fiancee'
& her family. Constance has said she will fight until she & her son Andreas, who
was born in the UK, are allowed to stay.

Constance's case is not unique. The UK government, which prides itself on its
supposed humanitarian character, arbitrarily deports tens of thousands of people
every year, back to places where they face persecution, torture & often murder,
all in the name of `managed migration'. Check out: noborderwales.org.uk

THE PAD SOCIAL CENTRE: STILL GOING STRONG

The Peoples Autonomous Destination has been open in Cardiff sinc
June, providing a non-commercial social space in the community & a plac
for anti-authoritarian activist groups to meet, make plans & hold events
The former shop space rented at 118 Clifton Street is run collectivel
by the people who use it, with decisions about its use made b
consensus. The PAD is home to a radical bookshop, a library & a fre
activist information stall (with the complete back catalogue o
GAGGED! ). A not-for-profit whole-food shop runs on Wednesday
from 5pm & vegan fried breakfast is served on Sundays.

Since opening, the social centre has also hosted a No Borders info day & a film
night, discussion with London Social Ecology, an Indymedia Wales gathering, talk
& films from Indymedia Oaxaca, a visit from Colombian anti-BP activists & a
Vegan food fayre. The venue is a valuable resource to local activist groups,
offering a free space from which to organise against capitalism & government.
The PAD relies on donations & volunteers to keep going. More people & ideas are
always welcome. Check out: thepad.wordpress.com

BARRAGE OF OPPOSITION
A controversial new £14 billion
barrage stretching 10 miles across the
river Severn from Lavernock Point in
the Vale of Glamorgan to Brean Down
in Somerset has been proposed.
Supporters argue that the project will
create clean energy by harnessing the
tidal power of the river, & creating 6%
of the UK's energy. Despite this even major supporters such as First Minister
Rhodri Morgan have compared the project to the 3 Gorges Dam in China ­ a massive
concrete monolith that displaced hundreds of thousands of people as river
valleys were flooded.

Opponents state that the project will damage wildlife & destroy miles of unique
protected ecosystems, & that building it will be over-expensive & unsustainable.
The amount of stone needed to create the barrage is the same as contained in the
Mendip Hills: as the government isn't about to quarry that, they'll have to
import the stone from elsewhere. Similarly huge quantities of sand will also be
needed to create the concrete for the structure, meaning more dredging &
increasing coastline erosion. Initial costings are £14 billion of taxpayer's
money, but there is an inbuilt 60% budget over-run. The feasibility study alone
will cost over £10 million.

Politicians tell us that the barrage is the lesser of two evils, & that the
alternative is 3 new nuclear power stations: this, though, is just not true.
Friends of the Earth & others have examined a number of greener projects, &
recommend that more research is ploughed into piloting smaller Tidal Lagoons, &
using stand-alone tidal fences & tidal generators. These, they argue, are more
environmentally friendly & more efficient than the current plans. As anarchists
we want real alternatives to the capitalist mode of production that will remove
the power of politicians & big business to push ahead with damaging projects
like this. We need small-scale, local, & sustainable green-energy
projects, & not green-washed monoliths like the Severn Barrage.

DIM KIM & THE DICTATOR KING
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia recently visited
the UK, welcomed by the government & our own
Royals. In an effort to give support to the
Saudi dictatorship, where even political parties
are banned, Foreign Office Minister Kim
Howells said he has "shared values" with King
Abdullah. Perhaps by this he means detention
without trial, support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, exporting terrorism
throughout the Middle East & the harsh punishments for trivial crimes that both
countries share.

Maybe the MP for Pontypridd `values' the torture, public executions & lack of
women's rights that exist in Saudi Arabia. What Kim is most concerned about is
the flow of Saudi oil, from beneath the feet of the impoverished Saudi people to
Western corporations, oil that keeps the UK economy rolling. Nothing else really
matters. Kim Howells & King Abdullah's "shared values" have killed millions to
satisfy the greed of corporate, aristocratic & political elites.

MERTHYR'S MONSTER MINE OCCUPIED
In the early hours of 5th December over 30 activists from
around Wales joined local residents to occupy the site of
the open cast mine at Ffos-y-Frân, near Merthyr (See
GAGGED! # 20). Climbing on & chaining themselves to
bulldozers & heavy machinery they've stopped excavation
work on what is an extremely environmentally damaging
project. As one of those involved said: "Coal is the filthiest
fuel known to man & projects like this mine could destroy all our chances of
tackling global warming. The battle over this hilltop in Wales is a fight for
the stability of the global climate & it epitomises this government's hypocrisy
on climate change."
Campaigners have stated they intend to do everything they can to stop this project.


NATIVITY? NAIVETE, NAIVETE!

As usual in December, the Nativity story will
pop up everywhere & we'll be treated once
again to the story of a baby born to a virgin
called Mary, with a foster dad of royal
descent announced by an angel, witnessed by
shepherds & heralded by a star. He goes on to
have a death threat during infancy, gets
baptised by `the Baptist' (who was later beheaded) in a river at the age of 30,
has twelve disciples, walks on water, casts out demons, heals the sick, &
restores sight to the blind.

He gives a sermon on the mount, gets crucified with two thieves, is buried in a
tomb & resurrected after three days, & was regarded as the Saviour of humanity.
Doesn't the ancient myth of HORUS the SUN-GOD get you feeling festive?

ST ATHAN SLAUGHTER SCHOOL JOB CON

Last January politicians popped champagne outside the
Senedd to celebrate £14 billion of public money being
spent a new military training academy in the tiny village of
St Athan, `creating' 5500 jobs. (see GAGGED! #16)
This PFI privatisation deal hands control of all UK military
training to the Metrix Consortium of private companies,
which includes the likes of Raytheon (who make cluster
bombs & depleted uranium weapons) & Qinetiq (ballistic missiles manufacturers).
They will be running the base as an international business which will also train
the troops of other governments.

After the Welsh Assembly gave LG Electronics £130 million to open a factory in
Newport to employ 6000 people but LG only built part of it, gave up & pocketed
most of the cash, you'd have thought politicians would be a little bit more
cautious. The promise that the St Athan academy will create 5500 jobs is an
empty one. As there are currently 6300 civilian & military trainers employed by
the MOD, most employees will be re-located from other parts of the UK. Local
people will be left with short-term construction posts & low-skilled service
jobs, or as trainee cannon fodder for government policy. Check out:
nomurderacademyatstathans.com
To mark the one year anniversary of Rhodri's champagne incident there will be a
demonstration outside the Senedd on January 17th.

COMMUNITY ACTION IN CARDIFF
Rumney Recreation & Eastern Leisure Action
Group (RREEL) are residents of east Cardiff who
have campaigned since August against the
Council's proposals to spend £50 million to close
Llanedeyrn, Llanrumney & Rumney High schools & build a new school & leisure
complex on the site of Eastern Leisure Centre & Rumney Recreation fields on
Newport road.

The group took action on 14th November, where they demonstrated outside the
Eastern Leisure Centre. RREEL member, Don Taylor, said "The council is not
listening to us. We have to shout to make our voices heard against this council
so we held a demonstration".

A council run `drop-in' held the following day was described by attendees as a
`whitewash', with residents' questions about the proposals remaining unanswered.
The council consultation period runs until 21st December, for more info check out:
www.rreelactiongroup.co.uk

COMMUNITY ACTION IN BLAENAVON

At the start of 2007 the Blaenavon leisure centre &
swimming pool were damaged in storms. Torfaen
council closed both & promised to `repair & reopen'. In
July the council concluded that re-opening would be
too expensive. It decided to demolish & build a new
primary school on the site with money from the Heads
of the Valleys Initiative funding. As Blaenavon
swimming pool opened in 1927, paid for by miners' contributions, & a covenant
states the site can only be used for recreational activities, it's a hugely
emotional issue that has galvanised the whole town. Local residents formed an
action group to save the buildings, collecting 7,000 signatures & over £14,000
in funds. Although the Town Council agreed to help finance a Trust to take over
swimming pool, the council leader, Bob Wellington, is refusing even to consider
this, saying that the land is needed to site a school. Yet their Chief Executive
admitted at an earlier meeting that this was not the case, & both
could be accommodated. Torfaen Council are clearly making it up as they go
along, & last September they were still applying for grants for extra
facilities. But they say now that they'd been considering closing both buildings
for a while & the storm damage 'only brought forward the debate'. Check out:
freewebs.com/saveourcentre

COUNCIL ARE DUMPING ON THE POOR

Cardiff City Council has admitted exporting recycling
waste (see GAGGED! #19) - cardboard to Indonesia
& China, LDPE plastic to India & China, & newspapers &
magazines to Sweden. The council initially said no
residual waste it collected was exported then did a
massive U-turn when "It seems that the [freedom of information] question was
misread by the council employee." 6 more Welsh councils, Powys, Denbighshire,
Flintshire, Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire & Swansea have admitted some of their
recycling waste is exported, & 7 more admitted not knowing where their waste goes.

A great deal of recycling waste is sold on to middlemen who sell it on overseas.
This situation raises questions, such as worker exploitation at the final sites,
the environmental impact of transportation & the possible undermining of the
entire recycling system. 'Recycling facilities' in many of the countries where
we export our rubbish are often just public landfill sites. We are filling the
global south with our rubbish. To leave the fate of our environment to the
market is ecological suicide.
-------------------------------------------------

WHO ARE SOUTH WALES ANARCHISTS?

South Wales Anarchists are a network of autonomous
collectives who are against all forms of exploitation & bigotry.
We engage in direct action against capitalism & government,
spread information, & build resistance to create a world based on
justice & freedom.
· Government & capitalism is chaos, pitting person against person,
encouraging domination & exploitation to preserve inequality &
privilege. Anarchism is order, delivering individual liberty & social
equality through a system of voluntary cooperation without
political, economic or social hierarchies.
Government & capitalism are not only undesirable, but also
unnecessary. As anarchists we operate without hierarchy, co-
operating on a basis of mutual aid & solidarity.
· The ruling class control & dominate all economic & political
systems, through government & capitalism they use violence, &
poverty to amass wealth & coerce everyone else into obedience.
Our enemy is the ruling class, embodied in institutions like the
G8, WTO, states & corporations. We aim to confront their
activities & defend personal freedoms.
· Parliaments cannot be reformed because representative
systems are inherently undemocratic. Voting is not an expression
of power, but an admission of powerlessness, since it just
reaffirms the government's supposed legitimacy.
Whenever people resist, practice solidarity & organise
without leaders, anarchism lives. We aim to strengthen these
libertarian tendencies & help them however we can.
Check out: southwalesanarchists.org
Anarchism is a very diverse political theory with many different
tendencies. Check out: anarchismfaq.org
-------------------------------------------------

The P.A.D. ~ Peoples Autonomous Destination
a physical space in Cardiff for groups & individuals
who cannot or will not work within the
constraints of governmental or corporate control

CARDIFF ANARCHIST NETWORK
local anarchist activists.
Meet 8pm mondays.
myspace.com/cardiffanarchists

CARDIFF READING ANTI-CAPITALISM
A study/reading group.
Meet 7pm tuesdays.
myspace.com/cardiffanticapitalism


FOOD CO-OP cost price wholefoods
Open from 5pm wednesdays.
P.A.D. ORGANISING - all welcome.
Meet 7pm wednesdays.


NO BORDERS WALES
organising on migration issues.
Meet 7pm thursdays.
noborderswales.org.uk

VEGAN FRY-UP sundays from noon & more call by or check the website
118 Clifton Street, Cardiff CF24 1LW · thepad.wordpress.com
--------------------------

Circulation: 5,000
Distribution: help needed
info@gaggedanarchist.tk
Audio, back issues &
subscription details at:
www.gaggedanarchist.tk
DIARY DATES
DECEMBER
18th ­ Screening of
"Anarchism in America",
about US anarchism.
7.30pm at the PAD.
JANUARY
5th ­ No to Murder
Academy meeting. 2pm
at the Temple of Peace,
Cardiff.
7th ­ South Wales
Anarchist Forum -
monthly meeting of
anarchist groups &
individuals from south
wales. 8pm at the PAD.
8th - Screening of
"Sicko" by Micheal
Moore, about US health
care. 7.30pm at the PAD
16th - Screening of
"Living Utopia" - the
Spanish anarchist
revolution 1936-39 by
people that lived it.
7.30pm at the PAD
17th ­ No to Murder
Academy Demonstration
­ to coincide with the
anniversary of the
contract to build the
academy being awarded
to Matrix at the Senedd.
FEBRUARY
14th - Screening of
"Behind the Mask: The
Story Of The People
Who Risk Everything To
Save Animals" - with a
talk by Keith Mann at
Chapter Cinema, Cardiff.

Read more of the same:
www.schnews.org.uk,
www.indymedia.org.uk
& www.libcom.org

----------------------------------
PICKET_ LINES
After many months of dispute with the
employers, local government unions have
finally accepted a below inflation pay offer
of 2.475%, meaning a paycut in real terms.
The GMB gave up without a fight, balloting
members on whether or not they should
ballot for strike action & while doing so
recommended that the offer be accepted.
Unsuprisingly the result was in favour of
accepting the pathetic offer.
UNISON, the biggest union, balloted for
industrial action with a recommendation to
reject the offer. However, when the ballot
came in with a yes vote for action,
UNISON still decided to accept the offer!
As one union activist told GAGGED! ,
"There were issues around the ballot, only
24% of the membership bothered to vote
which is shameful, & of those only 51.6%
voted for strike. This is hardly an
overwhelming mandate, but a yes vote is a
yes vote. The union needs to learn some
lessons from this, & learn them quickly. It
needs to start engaging more with
members & getting them to feel part of
the union, a 24% turn out is an
embarrassment. No doubt the way last
year's dispute over pensions was handled
has left many members disillusioned & this
debacle has done serious damage to the
union's credibility. The time for the
membership to take ownership of their
own union instead of sitting back & let
people do things for them is long overdue".
Now that the pay rise that should have
been implemented in April 2007 has been
agreed, negotiations will start shortly for
April 2008. This is the 4th consecutive
year that UNISON has backed down &
accepted a pay cut.
# # # # #
Former Allied Steel & Wire (ASW)
workers are still fighting for compensation
over their stolen pensions, recently
holding protests outside Downing Street &
the Senedd. About 1,000 workers in
Cardiff, Sheerness, Kent, & Belfast were
robbed when ASW went bankrupt in 2002.
They are part of the 125,000 workers who
have lost their pensions due to failed
capitalist ventures.
Although parliamentary ombudsman Ann
Abraham has said the government was
guilty of maladministration & that workers
should be compensated, ministers refused.
However at a February high court case,
four people who lost company pensions won
against the government after the court
ruled that the government was wrong to
reject completely the ombudsman's report
into collapsed pension schemes.
Ex-ASW worker John Benson, 61, from
Cardiff, lost the pension he had been
contributing to for 38 years. "I've lost my
life savings through no fault of my own," he
said. "I was going to retire at 60, but here
I am at 61 a litter picker for Cardiff
Council. We are not asking for much, only
for what we lost."
------------------------------------

COPWATCH

ANOTHER COPPER OFF THE HOOK?

Terry Grange, chief constable of
Dyfed-Powys Police, suddenly retired
after news of alleged financial
irregularities, misuse of police equipment
& the sending of `inappropriate' emails was
made public.
The Police Authority said, "Mr Grange had
indicated that he had allowed his private
life to interfere with his professional role
as chief constable. This has led the police
authority to consider the chief constable's
position & it was considered to be
appropriate to accept his retirement. No
further statement will be issued & no
interviews will be given."
Police aren't allowed to retire whilst being
investigated because it removes the
possibility of disciplinary measures &
might change their pension entitlement.
He may face criminal charge however as
more rumours circulate of his involvement
in a cover up of a child abuse case involving
a local judge.

SOUTH WALES POLICE: LAZY & WORKSHY.

South Wales Police were this month
revealed to have the highest absence rate
of all 4 Welsh forces. With 88 out of
3000 at home because of stress, injury or
sickness. The other 3 Welsh forces have a
total of 70 officers absent between them.
STRAY BULLET POLICE INQUIRY
Welsh firearms cops are being
investigated after a police marksman shot
a bullet through an office window. Luckily
the office was empty, but 8 people were
having health & safety training in the next
room. The marksmen were called out when
a calf escaped from Mold cattle market.

COP COULD GET AWAY WITH BEATING

PC Stephen Dance, accused of assaulting a
motorist in the back of a police car (see
GAGGED! #20) claimed he acted in
self-defence. He denies repeatedly
punching Robert Davies, which was
recorded by on audiotape machine, &
witnessed by his partner PC Paul Jones,
who testified against him. Despite
compelling evidence, such as testimony the
officer had informed the motorist, "I'll
rip your fucking head off", & suggested he
was about to "go back & give him a good
seeing to", the jury were unable to reach a
verdict. It is not yet know whether he will
face another trial or get off scott free.

ROAD COP BANNED FROM DRIVING!

South Yorkshire Chief Constable & former
head of road policing for the Association
of Chief Police Officers, Meredydd
Hughes has been found guilty of driving at
90mph on a 60mph stretch of the A4 in
North Wales. He was banned for 42 days
& fined £350. Safety groups have
criticised this lenient sentence & called
for him to resign.
--------------------------------
www.gaggedanarchist.tk # FREE
southwalesanarchists.org
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